Popular Bristol bar owners make 'incredibly sad' decision to leave

The owners of The Old Bookshop, Neil Hemus and Laura Guest
-Credit: (Image: BristolLive)


A popular bar in South Bristol is set to change ownership after three years. The Old Bookshop was transformed from a shop into a thriving bar in 2011, with current owners Laura Guest and Neil Hemus taking over the venue in 2021.

The friendly neighbourhood bar has won over punters with its range of European beers, ciders and food and attracted glowing reviews praising its food, atmosphere and staff. But Laura and Neil have made the "incredibly sad" decision to say goodbye and hand the business to another team.

The pair shared the news on social media, but confirmed the bar will operate as normal until the new owners take over. Neil and Laura added they will be running other venues in Bristol and hope to see some familiar faces in their other bars.

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They shared: "A bit of a sad announcement incoming unfortunately. After almost 3 years, the Old Bookshop as we all know it will be coming to an end. The site will be switching hands to another independent business in Bristol who’ll be taking ownership of the site in the coming months - you’ll hear more on that soon.

"We’re (Neil, Laura & the team) incredibly sad to be saying goodbye, but we’re equally very proud of the little community we’ve built whilst we’ve had the pleasure of running this lovely neighbourhood bar. It was our dream vision of a bar and we want to thank everyone that came through the doors and made it the place that it was.

"We’re glad we had the opportunity to have it for the time that we did and we’re sorry we couldn’t make it work. You’ll still be able to visit the Old Bookshop over the coming months before it changes hands, so hope to see as many of you as we can. All of our staff's jobs are fortunately safe in this process and they’ll be continuing on into the new venue - so you still get your see their friendly faces!

"We (Neil & Laura) will be running some other venues in Bristol in the near future so hopefully get to still see some familiar faces across the bars very soon. But most importantly, thank you everyone once again for making the Old Bookshop what it was."

Inside The Old Bookshop on North Street
Inside The Old Bookshop on North Street -Credit:BristolLive

The pair shared the news on social media on Saturday (June 1), with punters understandably sad to read the news, but many keen to welcome the new owners. One shared: "Always my go to bar when I visit Bristol and one of my faves anywhere! Hope to see you guys doing something equally good in future!"

Another commented: "You guys have provided the most community friendly, diverse and safe space for everyone. You will be dreadfully missed , but we can’t but wish you the bested wishes for you’re future endeavours. You deserve what is best for you, and I wish you success in your newest adventure."

One punter commented: "You ran one of the best places in Bristol. Thanks for everything you did while there, it’s been such a welcoming space with bloody good beer. Good luck with your next steps and make sure you tell us all where you are opening!"

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